Bordeaux to San Sebastian food & wine tour English speaking small group tour max 19
Bordeaux-Saint Emilion-San Sebastian-Bayonne-Rioja
2019 departs: Apr 07, May 05, Jun 23, Sep 01, Oct 20
Cost from: $4365 pp twin share
Single supplement: On request
Day 1 Welcome to Bordeaux
Arrive in Bordeaux on and check in at your hotel located in the center of the city. Enjoy a dinner on your own in the lively streets of
Day 2 Bordeaux Gourmet Tour/ Medoc half day tour
This morning, depart for a guided walking tour of Bordeaux featuring a mix of historical landmarks and local culinary delights. Inscribed
on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the port city boasts more protected buildings than any other French city after Paris. Discover big-ticket attractions such as Saint Andrew’s Cathedral or the neoclassical Grand Theater. Between landmarks you will have the opportunity to stop and savor some regional delicacies, including the famous canelé pastry. After the tour, your guide will lead you to lunch at a local restaurant specializing in French cheese where you will have the opportunity to sample several varieties along with wine pairings. In the afternoon, head towards one of the most renowned wine producing areas of Bordeaux, the Medoc. As you follow the ‘Château Road’ that is lined with some of the most famous wineries of Bordeaux, stop and participate in a visit & wine tasting session at a Grand Crus of the Margaux appellation. This winery is one of sixty in the Medoc region that was classified as a Bordeaux ‘Grand Cru’ in 1855 at the request of Emperor Napoleon III for the World’s Fair in Paris, a status still retained today. Upon arrival, enjoy a private visit of the Château as you tour the grounds, see the vines, discover the Vat House and cellar. Our next stop will be in another Classified Growth Château also located in the Margaux area. This Grand Cru Classé used to be part of a huge estate that was subdivided through times. Already very well known by the 1700’s, it counted Thomas Jefferson as one of their most avid customers as the notes in the diary of America’s third President show. After a visit of the property, enjoy a commented tasting with one of the estates professional wine guides.6.30pm Return to Bordeaux and night at your hotel.
Day 3 St Emilion Village & Wines full day tour
Breakfast at your hotel. 9.00am Pick up at your hotel. Today the wine region known as the right bank is on your program. Your main destination will be the Saint Emilion wine area where Merlot is the predominant grape variety. Begin the tour with the visit of the village and the underground monuments of Saint Emilion including the unique monolithic church. The tour covers several centuries of history and legend from the time of the monk Saint Emilion to the carving out of the amazing monolithic church. During your visit, admire the medieval paintings in the Trinity Chapel and learn the secrets of the catacombs. Finally, the underground monolithic church will be yours to discover and it will probably be the most fascinating moment of your visit. Afterward we will take you to the Cordeliers Cloister. In 1383, the Franciscans were given some land by Richard II of England within the ramparts of Saint Emilion where they built a church with a cloister, a winery and vat room, a cellar, a garden and a dormitory. Today only the cloister remains, a perfect example of Romanesque architecture in Southwestern France. The site also possesses a large network of tunnels, former quarries, that run beneath the streets and nearby vineyards of Saint Emilion creating an ideal location to age wine. Since 1892, the Cordeliers have been creating superior quality sparkling wines, called Crémant de Bordeaux, using the traditional “champenoise” method. The wines are aged between 12 to 24 months over the lees in the cellars below the cloister. These conditions are ideal for fermenting and maturing the wines, and the bottles are turned daily to encourage a long, slow development until the wines are ready for disgorging. After a visit of the underground cellars, participate in a commented wine tasting session of sparkling wines that will have you discover a broad palette of flavors and aromas. You will also be given the chance to taste the famous macaron of Saint Emilion, a recipe that has been passed down for generations.Time for lunch has arrived and we will slowly make our way towards a local wine bar. The restaurant was established by a nearby winemaker who had the idea to open a place where both amateurs and professionals of wine could gather together around an exceptional meal and a superior glass (or two!) of wine. Located just off a small square in the very center of the medieval town, it has become a true institution, revered by passing visitors as well as regular locals. Served in a relaxed atmosphere, the dishes are based entirely on what is in season at the market and there is a genuine commitment to using only high-quality produce. In keeping with the tradition of a true wine bar, service by the glass allows for the perfect pairing of food and wine. The establishment is known for having one of the best wine lists in all of France and still today their vintages are stored in an old stone quarry dating to the 19th century that runs underneath the restaurant. After lunch, you will have some free time for personal discovery to enjoy the beauty of the village.After the village visit and a short drive, reach a Château that has the distinction of being a Grand Cru Classé of the Saint Emilion appellation. For 300 years this Château has stood out amongst the other outstanding wineries of Bordeaux. The enchanting 17th-century architecture is surrounded by both picturesque vineyards and an ancient forest that has been preserved in order to create a charming environment with a magnificent view overlooking the Dordogne Valley. First discover the winery during a tour that will take you through the property followed by all the technical installations, the vat room, and finally the ageing cellar. Then you visit continues with a commented tasting of several vintages from the Château. After the tasting, return to Bordeaux for free time and dinner on your own.6.00pm Arrive in Bordeaux and night at your hotel.
Day 4 Bayonne Gourmet Tour / San Sebastian
Breakfast at your hotel and check out. 9.00am Pick up at your hotel. Your destination this morning is the town of Bayonne located south of Bordeaux and capital city of the French Basque region. Our interest here lies in the local produce that made the town so famous: ham and chocolate. Our first stop in the morning is dedicated to the famous ‘Jambon de Bayonne’. The local variety is a cured ham that is seasoned with the famous red peppers grown in the nearby village of Espelette. During a tour of the processing area you will learn about the salting tub and ham drying-room where the vibrant colors and mouthwatering aroma hint at the quality of the products. The tour will be followed by a tasting allowing you to sample some of this popular local produce. Afterward, enjoy some time in town for personal discovery and lunch on your own. In the afternoon head towards the chocolate workshop. Bayonne owes its chocolate history to the Spanish and Portuguese Jews who had fled Spain and the Inquisition in the late 16th century and found refuge in this important commercial hub located not too far from the border of the Iberian Peninsula. In Bayonne, the first chocolate factories were established in France and the local residents quickly learned the art of chocolate making. By the 19th century, the town had become the French capital of ‘chocolate’ with over 31 factories located in the town alone. This afternoon, your tour will include the visit of a local chocolate factory where you will be introduced to the origins of chocolate making in France while discovering some of the oldest machinery used to prepare the much sought-after beans. Then witness the preparation of the chocolate as you wander through the ‘lab’ where the melted delicacy comes alive. Finally, end the tour with a tasting, a great opportunity for you to savor chocolates from Haiti and Madagascar or the Extra Kiretsa made up of 97% cocoa. After the tasting, you will head to Northern Spain and the city of San Sebastian. 5.00pm Arrive in San Sebastian, check in at your hotel. 6.00pm You are now convened for a unique Pintxos bar crawl in the old town of San Sebastian. Not only will this walking tour allow you to discover the heart of the historical city, but you will also be introduced to a culinary feast as you go from bar to bar experiencing the local culture along with food ranging from molecular and modern to hearty and traditional, there is something for everyone.7.30pm End of the Pintxos tour. In the evening, return to your hotel and night in San Sebastian.
Day 5 Market Stroll & Gastronomic Club Lunch
Breakfast at your hotel.10.00am Pick up at your hotel. This morning, depart with your guide for a market stroll followed by a unique hands on cooking experience at a traditional Basque gastronomic club. Walk with your guide to one of the central markets in San Sebastian where you will meet with local farmers and choose from a variety of seasonal products directly from the producers. Then arrive at one of San Sebastian’s numerous private Gastronomic Clubs, settle in with a glass of wine, and help prepare some of the dishes you will be tasting with the products you purchased at the market. Finally, you will gather around the table to enjoy what you have cooked along with other dishes that have already been prepared in the traditional manner. After lunch, the rest of the afternoon is free for you to have some time for personal discovery. 3.30pm End of market stroll and gastronomic club lunch, free time in San Sebastian.
Day 6 Rioja / La guardia village Sagardotegi Dinner
Breakfast at your hotel.8.30am Pick up at your hotel. Welcome to Spain’s greatest wine producing region. Located in Northeast Spain along the Ebro River, protected to the north by the Cantabrian Mountains and anchored in the south by the city of Logroño, Rioja boasts centuries of winemaking history. Known primarily for its red wines, most bodegas have their own distinct formula, albeit typically a Tempranillo and Garnacha blend. Arrive in the Rio Alaveja area to discover the BODEGAS BAIGORRI. The winery was designed and built by Iñaki Aspiazu, a Basque architect from Spain, whose concept was to fully adapt the building to the existing topography so that visitors can have a magnificent view of the winemaking process. After a visit to the modern production facilities, you will have the opportunity to taste 2 wines from the estate. You will also have some time to stroll through the amazing shop where you can fully appreciate the architecture designed to perfectly blend in with its surroundings. After the tour, we will make our way to the village of Laguardia. Set atop a hill in the middle of a valley, the walled town of Laguardia is surrounded by vineyards and offers a glimpse into the region’s wine making past. Here, enjoy free time for lunch and personal discovery as you walk through the medieval narrow streets and stop at one of the multiple bars to try some local wine accompanied by a ración or a pintxo. After your lunch and visit we will begin our return to San Sebastian. 6.00pm Return to your hotel in San Sebastian. 7.30pm Tonight, is the final night with your fellow travelers so we have prepared a special farewell dinner for the group. And where better to finish your food & wine gourmet tour in this part of Europe than in a ‘sagardotegi’, a special type of cider house found in the Basque region of Spain that also serves traditional food specialties such as an omelette made with cod and a local cheese served with a quince jelly and nuts for dessert. They are also known for their expertly-prepared steaks, and modern sagardotegis are often described as a mixture between a steakhouse and a cider house. Like most cider varieties in Spain, but different from those found in other parts of Europe, Basque cider is considered ‘natural’ since it is still rather than sparkling. The modern tradition of eating at a sagardotegi originated when buyers looking to purchase from a particular producer would bring along their own food to pair with the cider. This quickly led to a gastronomical tradition where multi-course meals were served along with cider directly from the barrel, definitely an experience not to be missed! After dinner, transfer back to the hotel. 11.00pm Return to your hotel and night in San Sebastian.
Day 7 San Sebastian
Breakfast at your hotel and end of our services.
Inclusions: 6 nights in twin share in 4* accommodation, breakfast daily, daily, arrival & departure transfers, English speaking driver guide, comfortable & fully equipped vans, bottles of water in the minivan, all tasting fees in the chateaus, transfer to San Sebastian.
Sightseeing: Saint-Emilion full day wine tour, Basque Cuisine cooking class, Visit and wine tasting at Château La Croizille in Saint-Emilion, Bayonne Ham workshop visit and tasting, Bayonne chocolate tasting at “Atelier du Chocolat” in Bayonne, Evening guided walking Pintxos tour in San Sebastian on Day 4, Basque Market Stroll & Gastronomic Club Lunch on Day 5, Visit and wine tasting at Baigorri winery in the Rioja wine region, Farewell dinner at a traditional Sagardotegi (cider house) on Day 6, All entrance fees for activities, monuments, wine tastings mentioned in the program
Exclusions: entrance fees other than mentioned in the program, meals and drinks, personal expenses and insurances, gratuities for the drive/guide.
Note: maximum of 19 participants